VIDEO: STATE EXAMS: Reaction to maths is generally positive

Following a tough ordinary level maths paper on Friday for most Leaving Certificate students, reaction seemed much more positive to yesterday morning’s paper 2.

VIDEO: STATE EXAMS: Reaction to maths is generally positive

Regarding difficulties complained of by many students on Friday, Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) maths spokesperson Robert Chaney said everybody will be treated the same when it comes to marking the paper. But, he said, they may still feel disappointed if they were unable to demonstrate their knowledge and skills because of some particular questions.

He said ordinary level Paper 2 had a lot of questions that were set out very clearly, one part of a question about student heights data even giving them a hint to keep them on track. However, part of a probability question about a six-digit banking password required hard thinking; and progress in the second question hinged on being able to do the first part about a slope right, which many found tough because it was not clear to all students that the information needed was given in the first line of the question.

Megan O’Gorman, Niamh Kavanagh, Ciara O’Sullivan and Robyn Forde, from Hewitt College, after their maths paper two exam.

Otherwise, however, Mr Chaney thought the questions were nicely graduated in terms of difficulty.

Sarah Barnicoat, for the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), thought ordinary level maths Paper 2 was tricky in parts again. But, she said, students found questions on the circle and statistics more manageable.

She said the long questions on enlargements, and area and volume, were also fair.

For higher level students, Ms Barnicoat thought parts of the second exam yesterday were straightforward, with concepts-and-skills questions accessible for most students. Her students were pleased with a geometry question that included a construction and a theorem.

With trigonometry absent from last year’s exam, she said it featured in two long questions this year. The probability question may have posed the greatest challenge to students, but she was pleased with the paper overall.

Mr Chaney said some sections of the higher level paper were very predictable, although he would not agree with anyone who might say it was too easy.

A question on trigonometry and Pythagoras’s theorem was very similar to one asked a number of years ago, but the latter parts of a probability question would have turned the screw on even the most able students. He said a trigonometry question about distances and angles when playing golf which ended the paper, was very fair.

The first Leaving Certificate Irish papers faced students in the afternoon, and TUI’s Ruth Morrissey said the questions for higher level students on the listening test were of a very appropriate standard.

Michael Kelly and Aaron Hackett, St Clement’s College, Limerick, after the Leaving Cert Irish exam.

She said the essays related well to the world and lives of students, with topics like new technology, drugs and alcohol problems, and mental health, all subjects they could write well about. She felt many were topics they would have been prepared for ahead of their oral exam, so they should have been well able to demonstrate their vocabulary.

However, she felt a debate motion about progress made by women in recent years was quite limiting, and a speech topic restricted students from arguing that the Irish education system is very good.

The ASTI’s Irish spokesman Robbie Cronin was pleased with the papers and felt students were happy with the exam, which will be followed by second papers in the subject this morning for higher and ordinary level candidates. He said the aural section included welcome student-friendly topics like emigration and green schools initiatives. However, he questioned why students of Irish only get two chances to hear the audio, unlike the three times the items are played in examination of other languages.

Nichole Shanahan, Aishling Cusack, Lorna O’Brien and Rachel-Maria Moore, students from Laurel Hill School, Co Limerick, compare notes after the Leaving Cert Irish exams.

Ms Morrissey was pleased with the pitch and language of the aural questions for ordinary level students, except for potential difficulty recognising the phrase for ‘would recycle’. She said there was good variety and flexibility within the composition titles, which included writing about a wonderful birthday, ‘things that make me happy’, and an incredible text message from a friend.

She thought a letter option about being in hospital would allow students use vocabulary learned in junior cycle.

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